It’s About Counter Surveillance

After all these years, I finally understand why moms have eyes in the backs of their heads:

Counter surveillance.

It’s about all we have to protect us from our children. And, frankly, I think it leaves us severely out-gunned because children have two major advantages.

First off, they outnumber us.  They keep multiplying. Kind of like rabbits. Or ants.  Because ants like to eat this kind of stuff:

And rabbits like to eat this kind of stuff:

And I can tell you right now that my kids aren’t begging me for option number two come snack time.

Yeah, definitely like ants.

Kids multiply like ants and there is nothing in the world you can do to keep them from invading every space of your life and eating all the good food before you can get to it.

The more kids there are, the more able they are to pull this kind of stuff off. Now that there are three in my house, one can distract me (usually the immobile one, since she knows her sisters can cause more havoc if I’m occupied) while the other two dash in separate directions. Even if I manage to snatch one before she gets away, the other one is free to shut herself in my room and jump on my bed, not only disarraying my neatly made bed (hey, I heard that guffaw–it does get made! The fact that it’s usually not until 30 minutes before bed time is irrelevant) but also dumping all the clean, freshly folded clothes onto the hardwood bedroom floor that did need sweeping, but now doesn’t because clean clothes do a great job of picking up dirt and lint.

Even when DB’s home there aren’t enough hands to go around. You should see the mealtime carnage.

Outmanned,  I tell you.

As for outgunned, that’s the second major advantage the kids have. The eyes in the back of my head get dizzy from trying to keep up with their tactics.

The children have many super powers themselves, but by far the most potent and dreaded is the anti-sleep radar. This power is particularly pronounced in the larvae-staged children, such as Butterfly. She can’t get up and sneak outside on her own, but she is more than capable of making sure I don’t log more than 6 heavily interrupted hours of sleep per 24 hours in the day. Even when she seems to be so far under that a train coming through the living room wouldn’t wake her, a mommy lying down on the couch sets off her radar and she is AWAKE and NOT HAPPY.

Ladybug and StrawBee like to get in on this, too. Just to make sure their new sister’s radar is functioning properly, I suppose. The 3 a.m. feeding is like a circus, and a carefully timed one at that.

Butterfly, of course, wakes up first and whimpers gently, rapidly building to an un-ladylike roar, to get my attention. I wait for a moment because hope springs eternal and I want to be double sure that she really means it when she says she hungry. She does, of course, so we get up and get on with the feeding.

All is quiet for almost half an hour. Ladybug waits until Butterfly is almost asleep and I’m contemplating heading back to bed. Her radar picks up my sleepy thoughts, and she pops out of bed with exclamations of “I need to go POTTY!”

I hush her and tell her to go. She runs down the hall to the bathroom, turning on all the lights along the way and disrupting Butterfly’s rest. She potties while I resettle the larvae, then emerges with a loud announcement that she can’t get her pajamas back on. In attempting to help her wrestle them back on I unsettle the baby again. Ladybug gets sent scampering back to bed, and Butterfly demands I pay attention to her. While I’m distracted, Ladybug thumps her ladder around and/or turns on her bedroom light, possibly while yelling requests down the hall that I tuck her in.

Enter StrawBee, who was sleeping peacefully and who is now screeching and whining because Ladybug woke her up and she can’t find her “bibi” and therefore will never sleep again. I hurriedly place the now complacent Butterfly back in bed, then run to the big girls’ bedroom, scold Ladybug (who smirks), find the bibi, put them all back in bed, and turn off the lights.

At this point I get to climb back into bed, snuggling up with my super-soft blanket with a sigh of happiness.

This, of course, trips the anti-sleep radar.

You get the picture.

DB, I have to add, sleeps like a rock through all of this. This is, naturally, the arrangement we’ve made and it works well for us. His sleep means I get a bit of a lie-in come morning. However, in the small hours of the morning it’s difficult to be happy with the decisions made while one was feeling rational and well-rested.

Fortunately for me, Butterfly isn’t as anti-sleep as her sisters were, and often a pacifier will settle her again. Plus, once she gets to sleep, she usually stays that way for 4 or 5 hours. Not bad for someone who’s been sleeping on a regular schedule for just 3 and a half weeks!

Still, anti-sleep is a major campaign in this house. How, I ask you, are the eyes at the back of my head supposed to do me any good if they’re forever drifting closed in hopes of twenty winks?

Outmanned. Outgunned. Deep in the jungle and living on a ration of goldfish crackers and juice boxes.

Welcome to my world.

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About Carolynn the Dyer

If I've learned one thing by having three children in four years, it's that babies are not, in fact, the best birth control. ... Okay, just kidding. I've really learned that laughter is the only way to survive the wilds of parenthood, and life in general. Also, that it is indeed possible to do dishes, parent, and carry on a conversation at the same time. If that sounds like fun, or just impossible, then come join me on my blog--and join me in the jungle.
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